Roberts officially major league pitcher with Chicago Cubs

Dreams really do come true, even for a boy from a small town


Ethan Roberts was a small-town kid with a big-time dream. Now, Ethan Roberts is a major league pitcher with the Chicago Cubs.

Roberts, who pitched for the White County Warriors in high school and then played his collegiate ball for the Tennessee Tech Golden Eagles, will make his major league debut the next time he takes the mound.

“I just melted, because it’s just, this is – of course, for everybody – but this is life-changing for me,” Roberts said about his reaction, which was recorded and played across national media outlets, when he was informed that he would be on the Chicago Cubs’ roster for major league baseball’s opening day. “This is insane. I’m just at a loss for words.”

The designation as a major league pitcher isn’t something that just happened. Roberts has put a lot of time and effort – both physical and mental – into getting to this moment. The pitcher, who was drafted by the Cubs in 2018 and has spent the past four years working his way through the organization’s farm system, has had to battle through a year with no minor league baseball, a year with an abbreviated schedule, and a delayed start to this year’s pre-season. But Roberts had his eyes set on his goal from an early age, and he continued to put in the work, day after day, to be ready when his number was called.

That number was called for Roberts this spring when the Cubs elected to add him to their 40-man roster and give him a chance to make the major league team during spring training. Roberts only saw 5 1/3 innings of live action during the shortened pre-season, but he made the Cubs a believer during that time, recording seven strikeouts, one walk, and no runs.

It was after his last inning of work, a fourth inning outing against the Chicago White Sox, that Roberts received the news he had been waiting his entire life to hear. The final out of the inning came when slugger Jose’ Abreu slapped a hard-hit ball right back at Roberts, striking him on the hand. Roberts was able to recover and record an out.

When he returned to the dugout, Cubs manager David Ross approached Roberts for a brief chat.

“Rossy comes up and he’s like, ‘Hey can you still shake my hand?’” Roberts said that he told the manager that he was fine, and that’s when he realized Ross wasn’t really asking about an injury. “He’s like, ‘Good, you just made the team.’”

Roberts, who said his life changed in that one moment, said he is grateful for the small-town communities of the Upper Cumberland who have supported and cheered him on every step of this journey. He said he is especially thankful for the support of his wife, Hopelyn, and then recognized the person who has been with him since the dream began more than 10 years ago:

“Dad, we made it,” Roberts posted a simple statement to his social media, but the statement carried a decade’s work, emotion, and passion that all led to this one unbelievable moment. The moment when Ethan Roberts, small-town kid, with a big-time dream, became a major league baseball pitcher, proving that sometimes, dreams do come true.


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